Only in Iceland: Sheep Stomach Shortage

“With the slaughter season being in full swing and my ‘slaughter club’ getting excited for our annual slátur-making session, this is the worst news ever.”

Slátur: left of the rotten shark and just above the charred sheep’s head.

I was left devastated after watching the television news yesterday. So upset was I that I even updated my status on Facebook, something I’ve lacked the inspiration to do for months, to share my frustration with friends and acquaintances.

Sheep stomachs will not be available anywhere in Iceland ever again!

With the slaughter season being in full swing and my ‘slaughter club’ getting excited for our annual slátur-making session, this is the worst news ever.

I wrote about all the fun we had sewing sheep stomachs last year and I was really looking forward to making proper blóðmör (blood pudding) and lifrapylsa (liver sausage) again in two weeks’ time because I know my son, who will soon turn one, will love them.

Now we have to stuff the goodies in no-good synthetic sheep stomachs, which always burst during cooking and the slátur just doesn’t taste right.

No wonder that there’s been an uproar with people complaining about centuries’ old traditions being lost in addition to the aforementioned arguments.

Slátur making. Photo: Iceland Review

Representatives of the slaughterhouses state that processing the sheep stomachs is too time consuming and expensive given how few people buy them.

Slaughter packages with liver, blood, fat and everything else needed for slátur-making will still be available, though, and I guess my friends and I will have to come to terms with using the fake stuff.

After venting my frustration, I wondered whether shortage of sheep stomachs would have made the evening news anywhere else than in Iceland.

The same thought crossed my mind under totally different circumstances the other day, when I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen for a while and we ended up chatting for a few minutes.

It was a perfectly normal occurrence, something we all experience from time to time—except that we were both naked and chatted while showering.

In Iceland people of the same gender wash next to each other in open shower rooms at the gym or public pools and, inevitably, sometimes run into people they know and might even hug them while wearing nothing but their birthday suits.

Growing up with open shower rooms, I don’t see anything strange or embarrassing about conversing with others while washing off. However, as my friend isn’t originally from here, we joked about how this could only have happened in Iceland.

It often takes foreigners who aren’t used to stripping in front of strangers some time to overcome their shyness when visiting Iceland’s popular geothermal swimming pools.

However, showering in the nude before entering the pool is mandatory, as other bathers and the pool’s staff will be quick to point out if someone tries to avoid taking their clothes off.

While on the subject of swimming, today is actually the perfect day to take a swim. Bright, calm and sunny, it’s the beautiful autumn day I had been longing for.

I might be tempted to leave work early and do a few lapses to raise my spirits after the sheep stomach incident and get into gear for a great weekend. I might even run into a friend.

Originally published at Iceland Review Online

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